Summary: One resource that I consulted this week said that Tom Watson Sr., founded IBM and guided "Big Blue" for over 40 years. One of his most impressive moments in leadership occurred when a junior executive lost an enormous amount of money ($10 million) on a ri
Opening Statement: One resource that I consulted this week said that Tom Watson Sr., founded IBM and guided "Big Blue" for over 40 years. One of his most impressive moments in leadership occurred when a junior executive lost an enormous amount of money ($10 million) on a risky venture for the company. Watson called the man into the office and the man entered and nervously blurted out, "I guess you want my resignation?" Watson replied, "You can’t be serious. We’ve just spent $10 million educating you." Mistakes and failures can be teachers that provide us with invaluable lessons!!! And when these mistakes and failures happen in some key major areas of life, where can we go to find guidance? It’s one thing to lose 10 million in a business venture; it’s a far greater thing to lose a relationship with someone you love, like a child.
Question: What should our attitude be when we blow it on our jobs, on the golf course, or with a child?
Quotation: Paul said to the Philippian believers that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (4:13).” What was he saying? Is he saying that if I wake up one morning and decide to ride in the Tour de France that I can expect to win a 2,000 mile race spread over 25 to 30 days through rigorous terrain if I just quote this verse over and over while peddling my bicycle up the hill with Lance Armstrong somewhere in the field of riders below. Or does it mean that if I at 5’ – 9” tall get the basketball at half-court and run toward the hoop, launch from the foul line, and endeavor to “tomahawk” a thunder dunk of the head of my opponent, that I will be successful if I just mutter to myself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Key Word / Outline: I don’t think that Paul meant anything even remotely related to these things when he wrote these words. You see, the Philippian church had experienced failure on at least three fronts.
They had failed / were failing in their relationships. They weren’t getting along. They couldn’t resolve conflict (4:2). Missing a dunk or not getting the yellow jersey is nothing compared to this failure.
They had failed / were failing in their mental attitude (4:8). They had allowed anxiety and fear to totally control their lives.
They had failed / were failing in how to be content with what they had (4:11). Incidentally, we all have experienced failure in one or all of these areas. But Paul doesn’t want us to be defeated. I don’t think dunking a basketball or wearing a yellow jersey even comes close to the three areas that Paul addressed here.
Exposition: And so when Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” he’s saying that you can overcome your failures in all of these areas too. You can succeed at resolving conflict in your relationships. You can have a positive mental attitude. You don’t have to allow anxiety to control your life. You can learn to be content with where you are at this particular juncture in life until God’s sees fit to turn you over to a new chapter.
Application: So when you think, “There’s no way to work this out with him.” Think with the apostle: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” When you think, “There’s no way this relationship can ever survive.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” When you think, “I will never see another happy day.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” When you begin to measure life in hours and minutes rather than years and decades because of some great emotional weight, think with the apostle “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” You see, it wasn’t always easy for the apostle and it will not always be easy for us.
Paul’s “I Can” Applies to Your Relationships
Paul’s “I Can” Applies to Your Attitude
Paul’s “I Can” Applies to Your Contentment
Recitation: There was one instance where Paul wanted something so badly, but the Lord told him, “No. You will have to learn to lean on Me and be content with that.” 2 Corinthians 12:7a – 10 Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh [The Greek word is skolops, which can mean either a ‘stake’ which pegged him to the ground or a ‘splinter’ which constantly irritated him. It was something that stuck deeply in Paul, brought to him great discomfort and pain and God’s will defied extraction. As to what precisely the problem was, we do not know, only that it was some kind of disability from which the apostle wanted to be free.] was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me [Something else worth commenting on here is that he calls this thorn a messenger of Satan. Just in passing, this is a helpful commentary on the role of the evil prince in human lives. He is a tormenter; his entire role in life is to hurt, destroy, and cause pain and ultimately death. Even, as we’ve seen before, when he masquerades as an angel of light, it’s only to gain entrée to do more damage. But he is limited in his role. He may do only what God the Father allows for the ultimate good of his children. The very torment itself in the hand of God becomes that which gives Paul great spiritual blessing. It’s a remarkable insight, isn’t it? It was intended by Satan to harm, but God intended it for good (Genesis 50:20).] —so that I would not become arrogant. 12:8 I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. [This problem kept him pinned close to the Lord.] 12:10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.